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Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies–Longitudinal


How do individual competencies affect the employment trajectories of people in Germany? How are personal skills related to occupational mobility? How are competencies distributed in individual families/between partners? What does this mean for upward mobility in our society?

These and similar questions were addressed by the Germany-wide long-term study PIAAC-L.



PIAAC, an OECD study also known as the PISA study for adults, examined the everyday skills of adults in an international comparison. PIAAC-L continues PIAAC in a Germany-wide context. 



Approximately 5,000 people in Germany between the ages of 18 and 67 who had previously participated in PIAAC and their families were surveyed for PIAAC-L. The re-survey was conducted in a total of three survey waves between 2014 and 2016: 

Wave 1: Socio-Economic Background Survey

Wave I took place between March and June 2014. The aim of the survey was to precisely record the sociodemographics and living conditions of the target persons. For this purpose, a detailed biographical questionnaire was developed at SOEP. In addition, all household members over the age of 18 (adult children, life partners, etc.) were interviewed on topics that were significant in terms of content, such as educational level, income, further education and training, and cultural interests.

Wave 2: Competence measurement

The focus in wave II (2015) was on competence measurement. Within the scope of the survey, the competency tests of the domains German and mathematics developed in NEPS and PIAAC were presented. In addition to the target persons, the competencies of life partners (if available) were also to be recorded in wave II. This made it possible to answer exciting sociological questions such as the distribution of competencies in partnerships.

Wave 3: Background survey & basic cognitive abilities

In wave III (2016), one focus was on recording the basic cognitive abilities of the target persons. The short scales on basic cognitive abilities used in the SOEP were employed for this purpose. In addition, a background questionnaire was used to cover changes in the occupational field and in further education and training.


Project profile

Project partners
GESIS Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
DIW Berlin



Martin, S., Lechner, C., Kleinert, C., & Rammstedt, B. (2020). Literacy skills predict probability of refusal in follow-up wave: Evidence from two longitudinal assessment surveys. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 24(4), 413-428.


Weinert, S., & Artelt, C. (2019). Measurement of skills and achievement: A critical assessment of theoretical and methodological concepts. In R. Becker (Hrsg.), Research handbook on the sociology of education (S. 106-132). Edward Elgar Publishing.


Blossfeld, P., Blossfeld, G., & Blossfeld, H.-P. (2017). The speed of educational expansion and changes in inequality of educational opportunity. In T. Eckert, & B. Gniewosz (Hrsg.), Bildungsgerechtigkeit (S. 77-92). Springer VS.
Gaasch, C. (2017). Bayesian estimation of latent trait distributions considering hierarchical structures and partially missing covariate data.
Rammstedt, B., Martin, S., Zabal, A., Carstensen, C. H., & Schupp, J. (2017). The PIAAC longitudinal study in Germany: Rationale and design. Large-scale Assessments in Education, 5(1), 1-11.


Kleinert, C. (2015). Kompetenzen von Erwachsenen: Konzeption, Design und Messung in PIAAC. Bildungsindikatoren im internationalen Vergleich: Bestandsaufnahme und kritische Würdigung (S. 35-41). Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung.